Opportunistic Tennis

Here are ten tips to effectively recognize and take advantage of opportunities on the court.

  1. Close the net (as a team in doubles) after successfully lobbing a ball over your opponent(s). Close to the service line to finish the point with a volley or overhead.
  2. Close the net after hitting a successful drop shot or any shot in which your opponent is struggling to reach on one bounce. Closing the net puts you in a position to finish the point with a volley, overhead or groundstroke and also prevents your opponent from responding to your drop shot with another drop shot (the one shot that can hurt you if don’t close into the net).
  3. Close into the net (or at least step inside the baseline) after hitting a shot out wide that your opponent is struggling to run down.
  4. Attack in response to any shot your opponent hits short of the service line.
  5. Sneak into the net to a mid-court volley position after pinning your opponent back behind the baseline with a high ball (lob or semi-lob) that gets up above his/her strike zone. It’s a difficult ball for your opponent to attack or hit with any kind of authority.  Plus, with your opponent’s eyes focused up to the ball, it’s very easy to arrive to your attacking position unannounced and undetected (particularly if you delay your move into the net).
  6. Extend the rally with high percentage, high net clearance shots if your opponent is faltering physically.
  7. In anticipation of a weak return, close into the net (or step inside the baseline) following any serve that jams or stretches your opponent.
  8. For doubles, drift to the middle and close your position to the net in response to an effective, low return or shot hit by your partner. Put yourself in an ideal position to pick off the next shot hit by your opponents.
  9. When approaching the net for singles, follow the line of the ball to take away the down-the-line pass. Force your opponent to hit through you or try to hit a low percentage, cross-court angled pass.
  10. Take advantage of the element of surprise by trying something different or unprecedented to close out a game. As an example, serve-and-volley to close out a game when ahead by the score of 40 – 0 or 40 – 15.

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